Gov. Mike DeWine announced Tuesday that local volunteer fire departments may each apply for up to $15,000 in grant funding to purchase firefighting safety gear.
Following a recommendation of the governor’s Ohio Volunteer Fire Service Task Force, the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) is expanding eligibility for its Firefighter Exposure to Environmental Elements Grants (FEEEG) to encompass emergency "turnout" gear for fire volunteers.
“The safety of our first responders in Ohio is a top priority,” DeWine said in a statement. "Making this equipment more accessible to volunteer fire departments will help protect firefighters who are dedicated to the critical work of serving their local communities.”
The $15,000 grant limit spans three years, after which volunteer departments can reapply for funds to purchase clothing including trousers, boots, suspenders and jackets.
“We know the impact minimizing exposure to dangerous environmental elements has on the safety and health of firefighters,” BWC CEO/Administrator John Logue said. “We’ve seen this program positively impact fire departments throughout Ohio and we are proud this expansion will protect more Ohioans for years to come.”
Chaired by State Fire Marshal Kevin Reardon, the 2022 Volunteer Fire Service Task Force issued a 31-page report in February with a series of recommendations for volunteer recruitment, retention and training.
“We are pleased this recommendation is being implemented,” Reardon said. “This expansion will make a direct, positive impact on improving the volunteer fire service in Ohio.”
Volunteer fire departments wishing to apply for FEEEG funding may visit BWC’s Grant Management Portal at grantmanagement.bwc.ohio.gov. questions may be directed to BWC Chief Communications Officer Kim Norris at firstname.lastname@example.org or 614-728-8045, or to Public Information Officer Andy Ellinger of the State Fire Marshal’s Office at email@example.com or 614-752-7179.